Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Women's and Gender Studies


Women's and Gender Studies 398. Experimental Courses

Queer Theory

Queer theory arose in the late 1980s and early 1990s from scholars like Judith Butler, Gayle Rubin, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. In part a response to the AIDS epidemic and the need to make sense of the continued marginalization of people who were not heterosexual, queer theory blossomed into a field of inquiry aimed at understanding difference and inequality. The central subjects of queer theory are people marginalized due to their gender or sexuality. However, recent work on queerness also asks how “queer” might be a productive concept for understanding a broad range of stigmatized differences—as resistance to the “normal.” This is not, primarily, a class on LGBT history or on sexual cultures today. Rather, students in this class will engage in close readings of theory that assume some prior knowledge of sexual and/or gender diversity. As such, students in this class should have at least one of the following prerequisites: Intro LGBT Studies (WGS 298), Intro Women’s Studies (WGS 101), or another class listed or cross-listed in WGS.